Dr Richard Freeman tribunal: Lawyer tries to have remaining charges dismissed

Mary O'Rourke and Richard Freeman
Mary O'Rourke QC (left) has been representing Dr Richard Freeman

Dr Richard Freeman's lawyer has told his medical tribunal she will attempt to have the four remaining charges against the former British Cycling and Team Sky medic thrown out.

Mary O'Rourke QC says she will make a half-time submission that the General Medical Council does not have enough evidence to support claims against Freeman.

They include ordering testosterone to British Cycling headquarters in 2011, knowing that it was intended to help an athlete's performance.

Freeman denies that claim, but has already admitted 18 of 22 charges against him in the tribunal to determine whether he is fit to practise.

He says that 30 sachets of Testogel ordered to the National Cycling Centre were for former performance director Shane Sutton's erectile dysfunction.

Sutton, who stormed out of the tribunal after giving evidence last Tuesday, denies that claim.

Following on from Wednesday's sitting where it was claimed Freeman had researched testosterone-boosting drugs a month before he made the order, the credibility of Sutton's evidence was debated on another day when legal argument dominated proceedings.

But after hearing from anti-doping expert Professor Cowan, and with only one more GMC witness to be called, O'Rourke said: "The GMC has no evidence to support its case, even as amended."

She also told the tribunal that Sutton's evidence, which was cut short after he left the hearing, should not be submitted because he was an unreliable witness.

Last week, she tried to discredit the Australian, calling him a "habitual and serial liar" and a "doper".

If Sutton's evidence is thrown out, it could harm the GMC case because he has suggested the testosterone was for someone other than him.

O'Rourke said the GMC could have issued a witness summons to ensure Sutton was forced to attend and answer all her questions.

But GMC lawyer Simon Jackson QC said O'Rourke's "tactics" had led to Sutton leaving the hearing.

Jackson said: "Sutton indicated that he was not available beyond Tuesday, at which point Miss O'Rourke made allegations against Shane Sutton as a serial liar and doper.

"The nature and tone of the cross-examination was deliberately focused not on the Testogel, but to make allegations of doping."

O'Rourke said that was "nonsense".

Early next week, the tribunal will decide what weight to give to Sutton's evidence, or whether it should be included at all.

Before then, the tribunal will hear from endocrinologist Dr Richard Quinton, the GMC's final witness, to determine whether Sutton had a therapeutic need for testosterone.

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